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July 1993

Age-Dependent Change in the Hyaluronic Acid Content of the Human Chorioretinal Complex

Author Affiliations

From the Sensory and Electrophysiology Research Unit, Touro Infirmary (Mr Tate and Drs Oliver, Miceli, and Newsome), and the Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs Miceli and Newsome) and Anatomy (Dr Oliver), Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, La; and the Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco (Dr Stern and Ms Shuster).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1993;111(7):963-967. doi:10.1001/archopht.1993.01090070083023

Objective:  Hyaluronic acid (HA) has a key role in the structure and organization of the extracellular matrix. We sought to identify the distribution of HA in human eye tissue with regard to age using a biotinylated HA-binding protein.

Methods:  Fetal and adult (from donors ranging from 28 to 94 years of age) eye tissues were fixed less than 24 hours post mortem and embedded in JB-4 medium (Polysciences, Warrington, Pa). Sections of 2-μm thickness were used. Control sections were pretreated either with Streptomyces hyaluronidase or HA-binding protein inactivated by HA. The binding of the protein to HA was detected with avidinbiotin alkaline phosphatase and developed by incubation with naphthol as-mx phosphate and Texas Red Salt (Pierce, Rockford, Ill).

Results:  Specific staining for HA was observed in fetal eyes in the choroid, Bruch's membrane, sclera, retinal pigment epithelium, and developing retina from the vitreoretinal interface to the inner plexiform layer. Specific staining decreased with age in the choroid, retinal pigment epithelium, and Bruch's membrane. Hyaluronic acid—specific staining was undetectable in tissues from donors over 50 years of age.

Conclusions:  The localization of HA in the chorioretinal complex and its disappearance after the fifth decade of life may play a role in aging and age-related retinal disorders.

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